How To Look Good To A Mortgage Underwriter-Curb Appeal For Your Loan and Your Lawn

Jo GarnerHome Buying, landscaping0 Comments

Curb Appeal

You will get the inside scoop on what mortgage underwriters are looking for when they decide on the approval for your loan. You might call it curb appeal for your loan.  John Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape will be giving tips on how to make your curb appeal pop for your lawn.  His tips will help you if you are trying to get top dollar selling your home or just preparing the have your in-laws over for a visit.    

Welcome to Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe.  Please subscribe by emailing me at jo@jogarner.com so we can stay in touch. Let’s talk about the areas of real estate and financing that interests you.

To Your Success,

Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer and Host of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe www.JoGarner.com

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How to connect with us

Good morning, Memphis!  Welcome to our listeners across the 50 states! You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer.  You can connect with me at www.JoGarner.com.   Our general topic is How To Look Good To A Mortgage Underwriter-Curb Appeal For Your Loan and Your Lawn.

If you have a question or comment text me at (901) 482-0354 or calldirectly off the show at (901) 482-0354.  You can call us while we are live at (901) 535-9732 Today is  May 13th, 2017.

Topics For This Show

During this show we I am going to give you the inside scoop on what mortgage underwriters are looking for when they decide on the approval for your loan. You might call it curb appeal for your loan.  John Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape will be giving tips on how to make your curb appeal pop for your lawn.  His tips will help you if you are trying to get top dollar selling your home or just preparing the have your in-laws over for a visit.    

If you have your house for sale and you want to have the best chance of getting top dollar for your home, you have to get the right people into your home.  If you’ve done everything right on the inside of your home but you have neglected the outside  of your home, you may look out your front window to find would-be homebuyers hunkered in their car looking over your house and around at your lawn, only to pull away from the curb cruising onto a better looking house.

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INTRODUCING JOHN LAWHON

John Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape and Design, it is always good having you in the radio studio.  You’ve got some great tips for us to keep our curb appeal –well appealing.   Your family has been business since 1958. You do the landscape designs, installation, irrigation and spray.  You do it all.   Tell us a little more about yourself and what Lawhon Landscape offers your clients.

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JO’S START IN THE MORTGAGE BUSINESS

(Jo) John, not many people know this but I got started in the landscaping business in Jackson, Tennessee.  I enjoyed working with realtors and builders and property managers.  After selling the landscaping business taking a sabbatical up in Maine, I got interested in real estate, particularly fitting the financing together for people buying houses.  Almost 30 years later I am still passionate about the mortgage business and I am still working with realtors, builders and property managers.  There are a lot of similarities between the landscaping business and being a good mortgage offer.  Curb appeal is important for lawns AND loans.

MORTGAGE MARKET REPORT

  • (Jo) The mortgage market gave us some much better curb appeal yesterday.  After several days of prices on mortgage inching up, the lackluster economic numbers handed borrowers a nice drop in the price of mortgage rates. 30YR FIXED – 4.125%
  • FHA/VA – 3.75 – 4.0%; 15 YEAR FIXED – 3.375%-3.5%   If you are planning to buy a house or refinance one, let’s talk.  Let’s lock your terms while the rates are in the trough. Call me personally so I can work with you personally.  The best number to reach me is (901) 482-0354.  You can also email me at jo@jogarner.com.  

(Jo) In a fast moving market like we have in the Memphis area and in lots of areas around the country, you need to move fast on getting your financing approved so that you don’t take a chance of going past your contract date and losing the home.

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WHAT DO MORTGAGE UNDERWRITERS CARE MOST ABOUT

Before a human underwriter ever looks at the documents in your mortgage loan file, an automated underwriting software program reviews The top priority with the automated mortgage underwriting scenarios when it reviews your mortgage loan application are:

  1. The top priority is to have Assets available for the down payment and any other closing costs or prepaid property taxes and insurance with plenty of reserves in case of emergencies down the road.  Some borrowers make the mistake of running out and paying off their VISA and Mastercard accounts because they think it will make them look better to an underwriter. Don’t pay off the credit accounts unless the mortgage loan officer specifically tells you to pay down anything.   Showing more available funds in the bank can cover a lot of other not-so-good other factors in your loan file.
  2. Equally important is the quality of your credit history and how high your credit score is.  A good credit score is over 700.  An average score is around 680.  Anything lower is considered low with possible mortgage rate pricing increases to cover the extra risk.
  3. Later in the podcast we will also cover some other mortgage approval priorities like required repairs notated in the appraisal and your income-to-debt ratios.

If you are about to apply for a mortgage, let’s talk!  But you have to talk with me personally so I can work with you personally.  You can connect with me at www.JoGarner.com or call me directly at (901) 482-0354. MAKE YOUR PLAN. LET’S WORK YOUR PLAN.  IF THE DEAL WORKS FOR YOU TODAY, DO IT TODAY!

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LET’S TALK SHOP—TALK SHOPPE’S BUSINESS TIP FOR REAL ESTATE PROS:

It’s time to talk shop with Talk Shoppe’s Business Tip For  Real Estate Professionals. Talk Shoppe is a marketing company offering free education and networking to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk  Shoppe is made possible by the financial support of its sponsors and advertisers. For more about Talk Shoppe, go to www.TalkShoppe.com For our Talk Shoppe Business Tip today we have Talk Shoppe advertiser Billy Nickol, Promotional Consultant with Geiger Company. Billy has been educating us at Talk Shoppe on great ideas for promoting our companies.  Billy, you say if you can’t get it, you don’t need it, right? 

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QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY JOHN LAWHON:

  • How can homeowners or business owners use color in landscape to enhance curb appeal?
  • What kind of response do realtors get from a home that has good landscaping vs one that has not been spruced up?
  • Talk about ways homeowners can get some great curb appeal if they are selling their home or just getting ready for the in-laws to pay a visit.
    • Spruce up outdoor containers.
    • Container plants make a positive difference to patios and doorways where would-be buyers enter and exit the house..
    • Mulch in the right spots spruces up a place, so apply a fresh layer in all your garden beds. The right color  mulch enhances the other  surrounding plants and makes everything pop.
    • Plant something with color that brings a feeling of pleasant excitement.
    • Colorful flowers. Go for a splash of several colors or a more one-color method-whatever looks good at your home.
    • Giving your landscape the neat and tidy trimmed look.   Get rid of dead stuff.  Dead and unkempt plantings indicate neglect which buyers could presume is true of the inside of the house too.  Grab would-be buyers at the curb with a great looking landscape.
    • Tend to perennial beds. Tidy up annual and perennials that don’t look good. If you have to replace the plant, you may want to consider replacing it with a different plant.
    • Dig up and prepare to transfer plants that will go with the house if you are moving.   Make sure the buyer of your home know you are taking certain plants.
    • Clean up small ponds or pools. Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves and clean filters so that the water is pure and clean. Green algae water in a pool can be a real turn off .
    • Correct any irrigation issues. Fix a broken system or install an irrigation system if needed.   Correct drainage problems.
    • Fix leaky faucets since this can indicate to would-be buyers possible other water problems in the house.
    • Drawing the eye pleasantly to your home’s front entrance is an easy, low-cost way to up your home’s curb appeal. Painting your door a pretty hue that contrasts but complements your home’s color. Place a potted plant or two by the front entrance to add pizzaz.
  • Manicure the Lawn
    • Use potted plants to dress up your entryway.
    • Add architectural details that go with the style of your home to enhance your façade
    • Use plants that will keep the landscaping  low-maintenance lawn.
    • Improve the looks of  driveways and pathways.
    • Rocking and Hardscaping
    • Talk about some of your more high profile landscaping projects.

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QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY JO GARNER:

What aspects of your mortgage application carry the most priority with the mortgage underwriter?

  • Assets- The top priority is to have Assets available for the down payment and any other closing costs or prepaid property taxes and insurance with plenty of reserves in case of emergencies down the road.  Some borrowers make the mistake of running out and paying off their VISA and Mastercard accounts because they think it will make them look better to an underwriter. Don’t pay off the credit accounts unless the mortgage loan officer specifically tells you to pay down anything.   Showing more available funds in the bank can cover a lot of other not-so-good other factors in your loan file.
  • Credit-. Equally important is the quality of your credit history and how high your credit score is.  A good credit score is over 700.  An average score is around 680.  Anything lower is considered low with possible mortgage rate pricing increases to cover the extra risk. Get a copy of your report from all three bureaus or from www.annualcreditreport.com.

Contacting the Big Three Credit Bureaus

Equifax Information Services

www.equifax.com

PO BOX 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

(800) 685-1111

Experian

www.experian.com/reportaccess

701 Experian Parkway

PO BOX 2002

Allen, TX 75013

(888) 397-3742 

Transunion Consumer Relations

www.transunion.com/myoptions

2 Baldwin Place

PO BOX 1000

Chester, PA  19022

(800) 888-4213

Check www.MYFICO.com to get some tips how your credit scores is calculated.   According to this site and a recent article from USA TODAY, 35% of your credit scores is made up of how you use your revolving credit card debt.  If you want to put some credit score points on the board, try keeping the amount of credit you use less than 30% of your credit limit.   

Make your payments on time.

Don’t get too many companies pulling your credit.

Watch out for 12-months-Same-As-Cash.  These can act like maxed out credit cards and drop your credit scores.

Income-  Mortgage underwriters want to see that the income is adequate and stable.   Most loan programs have a maximum limit of 45% for the proposed house payment with taxes and insurance, mortgage insurance and any association fees PLUS the minimum required payments on other debt.  

Watch out if you receive a 1099 instead of W2.  If you are self-employed or commission only, you need a history of this income over a year or 2 years minimum.  

Keeping your income-to-debt-ratios under the 45% is important but sometimes the automated underwriting system will approve a borrower with a debt ratio of over 50% if they have a lot of assets in the bank. So, assets are still very important.

Appraisal on the homeUnderwriters want to make sure the house is in acceptable shape without any repairs needed that would affect the habitability of the home.   If there are any obvious repairs to be done, it may be a good idea to work out if the buyer or seller will be paying for the repair  work.  

  • Why are some borrowers turned down with one bank and get approved with a different bank using the same government-backed loan product?
  • Overlays—Some banks and mortgage companies have extra regulations in place over and above the normal government loan program regulations.  They make you jump through more hoops in other words.  If you get turned down due to a lender overlay, you can usually go to a different bank without the overlay and get your loan approved.

This is what happened to a customer we will call Dave who went to a big bank for a Veteran Administration loan. He had a contract to purchase a home and needed had put his notice in with his landlord to be out within a couple of months.  His lender had given him a conditional approval and he sent in all of his documents.  The appraisal came back looking good. He was told that his loan was approved.  The next day he got word from his lender that his loan was denied because he did not have enough money in reserve.   

His loan officer had told him that VA did not require money left over in reserves at closing.  The loan officer was right about the Veteran Administration mortgage rules.  What the loan officer and the borrower did not know was that the bank had a regulation overlay that required so many months of house payments showing available in the bank in case of emergencies.   It was panic time for Dave and his family for a little bit.

But Dave took his family to a different bank.  He asked up front about the overlay and that bank did not have the overlay.  Dave took the new lender the loan info and the VA appraisal from the first bank  and had the loan fully approved and ready to close in two weeks.   The story ended well with Dave and his family getting to move into their new home on time.   

Overlays can trip you up though if you do not know about them.   Sometimes banks do not publicize their overlays. In this case the first bank did not even tell make them clear to their own loan officer.  

  1. Income calculation-knowledge level of the loan officer. I tell a story  of a  customer who called me this week and had been turned down by a different bank for a loan for the purchase on a 2nd home. Once I had the loan in my system, I was able to make two small tweaks on the terms and got the loan approved for him and back on track.   The customer said the other loan officer never asked any further questions and never tried a second method of getting the loan approved. When the computer said it was denied they never tried another way or did not know another way.  
  2. Asset verification- knowledge level of the loan officer
  3. Credit
  4. Documentation-letters of explanation with written documentation to back  the story

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ANNOUNCEMENTS:   

  • Talk Shoppe offers free networking & education to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT at Nova Copy 7251 Appling Farms Parkway Memphis TN   This Wednesday May 17th, 2017 Phillip Kemp of Reed and Associates of TN presents: “Get A Life-Get A Property Manager-What You Don’t Know As a Landlord Can Hurt You.” Find Phillip Kemp at (901) 461-4662   www.MyReedHome.com
  • Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to advertisers  like Pat Goldstein, top producing realtor in Tennessee and North Mississippi.  Put Pat to work helping you buy or sell your home.   She’s the Gold Standard In Real Estate (901) 606-2000
  • Talk Shoppe recognizes Jana Cardona, Executive Director of Business Network International in the Mid-South Region.   BNI helps it’s members build their businesses with the power of referrals.  Go to www.BNIConnect.com
  • SPECIAL NOTE:  REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE SHOPPE  RECOMMENDS THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A FINANCIAL, LEGAL OR OTHER CERTIFIED, LICENSED PROFESSIONAL BEFORE ACTING OR INVESTING ON ANYTHING YOU HEAR OR SEE FROM THE CONTENT ON THIS SHOW OR BLOG POSTS. THE INFORMATION WE SHARE ON REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE SHOPPE IS GENERAL IN NATURE MEANT FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
  • FOR THIS PODCAST OF REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE SHOPPE AND MORE, GO TO JOGARNER.COM

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REJOINERS:  

Bob Turner, Hair Sylist Gould’s Salon and Day Spa  (901) 854-8689

Gwen Christensen, Builders Floors and Interiors   www.BuildersFloorsAndInteriors.com  (901) 382-2155

Rita Connally, Personal Trainer at the YMCA Schilling Farms Collierville, TN (901) 413-5298

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ABOUT BILLY NICKOL

PROMOTIONAL CONSULTANT WITH GEIGER COMPANY

IF BILLY DOESN’T HAVE IT, YOU DON’T NEED IT

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ABOUT JOHN LAWHON OF LAWHON LANDSCAPING DESIGN

Call: (901) 754-7474

Beautiful gardens begin with thoughtful design. The staff of Lawhon Landscape Design includes professionals with degrees in Landscape Architecture, Plant Pathology, Studio Art, and Agronomy. Our designers and plant professionals create outdoor living spaces with your lifestyle in mind.

Our many years of experience in design, installing, and maintaining Mid-South landscapes make us uniquely qualified to create gardens that are both beautiful and practical to maintain.

A Family Business

Our business was started in 1958 by Rex and Beth Lawhon and was one of the first weed control companies in the Southeast. Over the years, we have kept our client list small and personal in order to serve the gardens of Memphis with the best in lawn and shrub care. The high quality of our work has paid off over the years by the many repeat customers we have – both residential and commercial. We follow the philosophy of doing it right the first time. We hope that you will give us the opportunity to serve your garden needs as well.

In 1985, we expanded our family company by offering a complete design build landscape service. John Lawhon, with a degree in Landscape Architecture, offers complete landscape designs for every budget as well as outstanding plant installation services. In order to help maintain your landscape, we offer complete irrigation system installation. We have everything you need to make your home more beautiful than ever.

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About Jo Garner

cell: (901) 482 0354

 jo@192.232.195.219

www.JoGarner.com

  Twitter: @jogarner

Jo describes her job description: As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to give my client the benefits they want from their financing terms– listening to my client and determine what’s of the most value to THEM–  What is their comfort level on a house payment, how much are they comfortable paying down, what type of financing do they need to get the house they want to buy or refinance. Different clients have different priorities in life—some are buying their first home with very little down payment funds.  Some are recovering from medical challenges, divorces or preparing to send children to college and some are embarking on a long term goal of buying properties to build rental income. Whatever their personal priorities are, my job is to put together a mortgage with comfortable terms that will help them achieve their goals.”

Jo Garner is a mortgage officer with extensive knowledge in tailoring mortgages to her customers who are refinancing or purchasing homes all over the country.  She offers conventional, FHA, VA or other loan programs for refinancing and purchases.  

Jo can help you look at rent vs buy, when it makes sense to refinance, how to get the best deal on your home  purchase financing.   

Jo Garner  has been in the real estate/financing business for over 20 years.  She got her start in Portland, Maine where she first began her real estate career. She received her real estate education from the University of Southern Maine  and was personally mentored in San Diego, California  by Robert G. Allen, author of Nothing Down, Creating Wealth and The Challenge. 

On moving back to West Tennessee in 1987, she went into business buying and selling discounted owner-financed notes secured on real estate.  In 1990 Jo went to work for a residential mortgage company and has been a mortgage loan officer for over 20 years.  Her goal is to offer excellent, affordable service to her customers, tailoring the loan programs to the specific needs of her clients.  

In addition to her work in the mortgage field, Jo Garner  is the primary sponsor and founder of Talk Shoppe in Memphis. www.TalkShoppe.com  Jo is host of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe  and currently publishes on her blog www.JoGarner.com

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